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Hello everyone,
I recently played in a very strong open tournament in Karlruhe, Germany, and also played a few games in the Israeli league for the Beer-Sheva team, the eventual winner. Which is why I decided to share a few of my games with you, while adding some games from the top events. A lot of exciting chess, especially Hou Yifan-Muzychuk.

Download PGN of April ’16 1 e4 e5 games

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Open Spanish with 6.Re1 [C80]

I would like to start with my favourite Open Spanish and the game Hentze, M - Mikhalevski, V Grenke Open 2016.

My opponent played a pretty rare and unambitious line against the Open Spanish, which led to the balanced position given above. However, here I slipped with 12...Nf8, instead of 12...f6 with good play for Black, but my opponent returned the favour and was eventually outplayed. The line with 6.Re1 doesn't promise any opening advantage, although it's not as innocent as it may seem.

Open Spanish with 9.c3 [C83]

The very exciting game Hou Yifan-Muzychuk,M Women's World Championship match 2016, took place in Lviv. The latest theoretical trend led the game to the following diagram:

Here the Ukrainian player played the very strong novelty 13...Nxd4, which seems to fully equalise matters in spectacular fashion. A beautiful game, which is very important for the theory of the line with 10.Bc2. White needs a strong idea to prove his superiority, but for now the ball is back in his court.

Spanish with 5.d3 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 [C77]

I've recently played two games in this system. The first one was the game Vallejo Pons, F - Mikhalevski, V Grenke Open 2016.

In a rather rare line with 8.Bg5 we quickly reached the diagram position. I introduced the novelty 12...a5, instead of 12...Kh8 as in Marco, G - Spielmann, R/Bad Pistyan 1922(!) and fully equalised. My inaccurate move 21...c5?! (instead of 21...Ng6!) allowed White to claim a slight edge, but he returned the favour with 24.Rb5 and the game was drawn without any accidents. A well-played game by both players. The line with 8.Bg5 doesn't promise any opening advantage for White, but it's not without venom and so Black has to be precise to maintain equality.

The second game in the line is Liss, E - Mikhalevski, V ISR-Tch 2016. This time my opponent surprised me with 7.Be3 and we reached the diagram position from my book The Open Spanish, by transposition:

Now I introduced the new move 12...Be6, instead of 12...c4 from the book. White went astray with 14.d4?!, but I didn't take advantage of it and played 14...Nc4, which only equalises, instead of 14...Bc4! with the upper hand. The game proved that the line with 7.Be3 doesn't promise any opening advantage.

Spanish. Anti-Berlin with 4.d3 Bc5 5.0-0 [C65]

An early novelty was presented in the game Anand, V - Topalov, V Candidates 2016.

In a topical line of the Anti-Berlin the players reached the well-known position of the diagram. Here Anand introduced 12.a4!?, instead of 12.Qb3 as in Topalov, V - Caruana, F/Saint Louis USA 2015. Veselin reacted well and obtained a good position, and then only 20...Nxb3?! and 21...Nxc1? handed the initiative to White. A very tense game, where White's opening idea 12.a4 is interesting and requires more practical tests.

Spanish. Anti-Berlin with 4.d3 Bc5 5.Bxc6 [C65]

Another game in the Anti-Berlin, Caruana, F - Nakamura, H Candidates 2016, and another topical line, with 5.Bxc6.

A new trend in this line is White's attempt to attack on the kingside, while his king is evacuated to the other side of the board. Earlier Anand played 10.g4 and Wei Yi 10.h4, but Caruana delayed the attack and castled long right away, 10.0-0-0. Nakamura reacted pretty logically with 10...b5, instead of the 10...c5 which had been seen in Perez Candelario, M - Sargissian, G/Villafranca 2010. However, Fabiano was more precise and after the inaccurate 20...a3 21.b3 seized the initiative and led the game to a well-deserved and convincing win. The opening line with 0-0-0 is interesting and leads to very sharp play. Anyway, for the moment the ball is in Black's court.

Spanish. Anti-Marshall with 8.a4 [C88]

The game Anand, V - Svidler, P Candidates 2016, saw the popular Anti-Marshall with 8.a4. The Russian GM followed a rapid game of the World Champion's with 9...Re8, but Vishy deviated with 10.Nbd2 instead of 10.Nc3.

In this critical position Black has two reasonable ways to equalise, namely 13...cxd4 14.cxd4 Qb6!? and the 13...exd4 which was chosen by Peter, and after 14.exd4 the move 14...cxd4, which has never been played. Instead, Svidler continued with 14...d5, which had been played by Onischuk, but the idea turned out to be wrong and White obtained an edge with the strong novelty 16.axb5 (instead of 16.Nxe4?!) Black then took chances with 18...Nb3? and had to resign a few moves later. Despite White's win, the line which occurred in the game doesn't promise him an opening advantage. Black can improve his play by means of 13...cxd4 14.cxd4 Qb6 or 14...exd4.

Italian with 6...Bb6 [C54]

In the game Fuchs, J - Mikhalevski, V Grenke Open 2016, I decided to surprise my opponent with the rather offbeat 6...Bb6.

Here I deviated from two preceding games, which saw 12...Qxb6 in Kramnik, V - Krasenkow, M/Moscow 1991 and 12...Bxb3 in Wei, Y - Zhou, W/Xinghua 2013, with the logical 12...axb6 and soon sacrificed a pawn. However, 15...Nd7?! was inaccurate and White could claim an edge had she continued playing in the final position, whereas 15...Nh5 was very interesting and promised a serious initiative. A short, but interesting game, the line with 6...Bb6 is not as bad as it may appear and is a serious alternative to the more popular lines.


See you next month, Victor.

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